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      Edelstein: Annexing Judea and Samaria is On the Table

      Minister Yuli Edelstein tells foreign journalists that the option to annex areas of Judea and Samaria is "on the table".
      By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
      First Publish: 9/14/2011, 12:10 AM

      Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein participated Tuesday in a briefing to dozens of dozens of foreign journalists organized by the GPO in the community of Beit Arye in Samaria.

      During the briefing Edelstein clarified that the option to annex areas of Judea and Samaria is on the table if the Palestinian Authority goes through with its unilateral statehood bid.

      “The question of annexation of security areas of so-called ‘population blocs’ in Judea and Samaria hasn’t been discussed in the government,” Edelstein said. “Some ministers, including myself, have said that this should probably be a step taken by the government if the Palestinians go too far unilaterally.”

      “No one’s in favor of it,” he emphasized. “We would rather negotiate. We would rather do things as normal people do via negotiations, and via negotiations we can reach an arrangement in which we can find a way to live together. Unfortunately, for the last two and a half years we haven’t had a partner on the Palestinian side.”

      Edelstein said, “I do believe, as do most of my colleagues, that this land is Jewish land. We have the perfect right to live here and to build here. I’m well aware of the fact that Palestinians claim that this land is theirs. We have to find some modus operandi to co-exist, but the basic assumption is that this is Jewish land and that we are here by right and not just because we were looking for a place to build a couple of houses.”

      Edelstein said that evacuating the so-called “Israeli illegal settlements” in Judea and Samaria would not lead to peace and reminded of the 2005 'disengagement' from the Gaza Strip and the expulsion of Gush Katif residents from their homes. He reminded those present that not only did this move not bring about peace, but resulted in countless terror attacks (the latest one having just recently occurred near Eilat) and the firing of missiles and rockets at Israeli civilians.